How can I be certain when I order decaf coffee that it is actually decaf?

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0 thoughts on “How can I be certain when I order decaf coffee that it is actually decaf?”

  1. Pretty much you can’t in a single stimulus taste response unless you have a fantastic taste memory and have had the exact same coffee in its true decaf or regular versions before.
    Caffeine, like most alkaloids, has a bitter taste, but it is present in such relatively small amounts in coffee that its presence is very hard to detect unless you have samples of the same caffeinated and decaffeinated brews to compare.
    Add in different blends, roasts, preparations, standing times, etc. and all bets are pretty much off.
    I and some other coffee lovers of my acquaintance have tried to tell the difference in an admittedly limited, blinded test. We didn’t do much better than chance. While I’m not claiming that a trained taster or experienced barista couldn’t do better, certainty is unlikely.
    One possibility is to try caffeine test strips, such as D+Caf strips. You can’t use them on a beverage containing dairy or sugar, which pretty much means black coffee, and they give a crude estimate, either less or more than 20 mg caffeine in a six ounce beverage. For a review, see D+Caf Test Strips Find Caffeine in Coffee, but Don’t Try them on a Latte: Tech Test You can buy them on the Internet.

  2. Open the bag and watch the beans closely if you go to sleep it is decaf otherwise you won’t go to sleep if it is full caffeine. This will not work for ground coffee.

  3. You can’t. But then again you cannot be sure of anything in life. I mean..are we even really here? OK but my silly philosophy aside, if you are a caffeine addict such as myself, you will know by the taste—it will taste somehow “different.” If, as I suspect, you are trying to avoid caffeine, depending on your reasons, you could just take a chance, watch it being made (orange or green spout does not mean they used decaf in the pot), or skip it altogether. Hey, you could invent some kind of consumer litmus paper that detects it.

  4. Taste is your best indicator. There isn’t a universal decaf flavor so you will have to learn to taste for your particular bean.
    Otherwise, while you don’t want to accuse anyone of a mistake that might not have transpired, you can politely ask and double-check if it is decaf. The baristas may still tell you “yes” without really checking, but then you can say you’ve done your due diligence. At the shops I’ve run, at least 50% of customers who order decaf come back to ask us to double-check. Some people are less than polite about it. Since we anticipate it, please be kind.
    On another note, no decaf is 100% caffeine free. Just in case that is your concern.


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